Chicago Gets What It Voted For
Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson blames businesses for crime.
Wall Street Journal Editorial Board - Friday, April 7, 2023
Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson is off to a running start. The hyper-progressive is fulfilling every expectation that he’ll drive even more people and businesses out of the Windy City.
Two days after narrowly winning the election, Mr. Johnson thought it a good moment to blame the city’s crime wave on business. “Seventy percent of large corporations in the state of Illinois did not pay a corporate tax,” Mr. Johnson told CBS. “And it’s that kind of restraint on our budget that has caused the type of disinvestment that has led to poverty of course that has led to violence.”
In pool, they call that a triple-carom shot, and in logic a non sequitur: From tax payments to budget restraint to poverty to shooting someone in the street. We’re sure that’s what the average Chicago gunman is thinking when he shoots someone: Companies don’t pay enough taxes.
You’d think a new mayor who ran as a leftist would try to reassure employers that he’ll not be as crazy as he sometimes sounded during the campaign. But now that he’s won, he apparently feels liberated to sound crazier.
Mr. Johnson is wrong on taxes, by the way. The Illinois corporate income tax is the third highest in the nation, and Chicago adds steep property taxes that aren’t based on business income or profitability. For fiscal year 2023, the Windy City plans to raise some $5.42 billion in property taxes for its budget and the Chicago Public Schools. Nearly 47% of that will come from non-residential property taxes.
Mr. Johnson told CBS he won’t raise property taxes, but only because they aren’t progressive enough. He called property taxes the “lazy form of governance for a very long time in the city of Chicago and quite frankly around the country.” Instead, the city will have to “find the revenue” from “individuals who have the means to actually contribute to a safer city.”
He might want to look out-of-state, where more companies will be moving as they contemplate operating in a city run by a man who blames crime on employers and not on criminals.